Google Local can be very effective if used properly, but the keyword there is properly, because unless your site is fully optimized it’s not going to rank There are quite a few things you need to work on, but it all comes down to using familiar search engine techniques and tailoring it for local users.
Use City/ST in the Right Places
You’re aiming at specific local areas so you must include city/ST in the title tag. The title tag is essential for optimization so your state and city need to be included to increase relevancy. Apart from title you also need to include this in your H1 heading. The city/ST doesn’t have to make up the entire H1, but it has to be there.
There are three other places where city/ST has to be included: the alt text, site content and in the URL.
- If you’re aiming for a local area, your site’s content must mention the city/ST and provide data specific to that place, otherwise it will come out as simply general information that’s applicable everywhere.
- A lot of sites don’t even use alt text at all and that’s a shame because it’s very important. Google doesn’t see your images so it uses alt text to understand the content of your page. By including city/ST in the alt text, Google will know your intended target and make the proper adjustments.
- If possible, edit your URL so the city/ST is included because it’s going to go far in terms of informing Google that you’re targeting local areas and users. If you do make changes to your URL, set up a 301 redirect so the old URL goes straight to the new one.
Other Tips for an Effective Website
Apart from targeting the right audience, you’ll need to do the following to ensure that once people visit your site they’ll keep coming back.
- Create a Good Home Page: create a home page so people and search engines will know what your site is about. You don’t want to cram a single page with too much information, but it’s going to take more than a few sentences and banners to lure people in. Give a general idea about the website and how the information can help site visitors. Also, you need to emphasize that it’s targeted for that particular city/ST.
- People go online to find information, so don’t leave them hanging. Don’t say “we sell X, call us for more details!” You need to provide details about the product so the would-be shopper will feel compelled to buy.
- Don’t spam keywords because Google will penalize your site. Filling the page with too many references to the city or state isn’t very useful, and while it may give you a quick ratings boost, people will soon be turned off and look elsewhere. If you want to rank high, provide useful and relevant information instead.
- Use the title tags properly: the title tag should encapsulate what the page is about and not merely consist of keywords.
- You also need to place emphasis on local optimization because on-site signals are more important now than ever before. No matter how beautifully designed your website is, it’s not going to help if the local signals Google’s looking for isn’t there.
The tips provided here might seem old fashioned and tedious, but there is no shortcut to success when it comes to ranking. As was pointed out at the beginning of this article, the secret to getting a high rank is by giving the user the information they need, simple as that. If you do that your chances of soaring at the top of Google Local search results will be high.